Our Partnership with Meredith College

A Look Inside our Partnership with Meredith College

For the past 5 years, we’ve proudly partnered with Meredith College to give interior design students in the Construction Technology program the opportunity to take tours of our commercial project sites.  Each semester, we work with the professor of the course, Lisa Wilson, telling her about our current projects and together we decide which one would be most beneficial for her students to visit. For example, during the 2019 Fall Semester, the students toured a restaurant renovation. The students also visited a residential job site that was coordinated with Rufty Homes. This gives them a chance to see the similarities – and differences – between commercial and residential projects, firsthand.  While many students plan to pursue residential interior design work, we like to use the tour to show them that interior designers are an important part of commercial projects as well. They’re integral to a project’s success and a vital part of the construction team, which is on display as we walk through the site.  Lisa explains, “I try to teach my students that team effort is crucial for every construction process. Drawings are only about 60% of the process; everything else happens out in the field. Getting to take them to an actual construction site and see the teamwork in action is eye-opening for them.”

Meredith Students on the Job

During a tour, the students visit one of our construction sites and interact with some of our team members. It gives the students the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from people in roles that they may not work with regularly, once they graduate and begin their careers in interior design.  While this is a great learning opportunity for the students, our team also appreciates the chance to serve as mentors for the future of our profession. Jeremy Donaldson, one of our Project Superintendents, says, “I really enjoy accompanying the students on the tour. They get to see how real-world construction looks compared to on paper, in the classroom. The lessons they learn in the field will help them to better understand what they are learning in school.”

Site Selection is Key

We try to select sites that are in the middle of construction, so the students are able to “look inside the walls” and get a better understanding of every little thing that goes into the construction process. Equipped with hard hats for safety, they walk around the site just as they will once they begin their design careers.  The tour also helps prepare them for their final project of the semester, when they must work in groups to put together a set of construction documents. For many students, it’s their first time on a job site, so it can be an eye-opening experience. Lisa believes that the tour helps them better understand their final project, and as a result, it helps them complete it more successfully. Lisa explains, “Many of my students have never been on a construction site and they may not be familiar with some of the methods of construction that we get to see onsite. This experience really lets them get into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of a project and see the big picture instead of just focusing on one small aspect of a project.” We’re proud to partner with this local college to help shape the careers of these future interior designers! Read More >>>

Managing the Unknowns of a Site Selection

Managing the Unknowns of a Site Selection

When it comes to a “ground up” building project, site selection is of utmost importance. In some cases, location alone can make or break a business. After all, there’s a reason for the famous real estate slogan that it’s all about “location, location, location!”  Rufty-Peedin is uniquely positioned to handle every aspect of site selection, from initially vetting land to uncovering hidden issues and all the details in between.  Throughout this article, we’ll walk you through our site selection process and talk more about the different factors that contribute to overall site costs.

Finding the perfect piece of land.

Simply put, without land, you don’t have a project. We can help you evaluate your needs, locate a piece of land, and determine whether it will be a good choice for your business. That’s just one reason why it makes sense to work with Rufty-Peedin for your commercial design-build projects. 

The importance of broker relationships.

We work with a number of commercial real estate broker teams throughout the area to find sites for our clients.  Maintaining these broker relationships is a key component of what our team does, primarily because it puts us in the best position to find land that meets the needs of our clients. 

Location is everything.

We have a saying around here that “the land is the most important piece of the pie.” Choosing the right location is a critical component of a commercial design-build project. We’ll help you find something that fits your needs, offers the required exposure, and meets your logistical goals. 

Assessing a site location.

When you work with Rufty-Peedin, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that we have your best interests at heart when helping you select a location for your business. For every project, an Environmental Assessment is performed to minimize unforeseen liabilities and environmental contaminants like unsuitable soils and/or subsurface rock.  This in-depth assessment covers historical data about the land, examines it for hazardous materials, and more. Report-length aside, the assessment uncovers any environmental issues before you start building on a site.  For instance, an Environmental Assessment may uncover a leaking underground fuel tank hidden on a site. Knowing this tank allows us to avoid numerous issues could and would have arisen -- therefore impacting our valued client’s timeline and budget.  Performing the Environmental Assessment may be a requirement when borrowing funds from a bank, but it’s also a general best practice that Rufty-Peedin stands behind for all of our free-standing building projects. 

Moving forward after a potential site has been selected.

Finding a piece of land for our clients’ businesses is really just the beginning of site selection at Rufty-Peedin. There’s still plenty of work to be done before the actual build can begin. We refer to this as the vetting process.

Zoning procedures.

First up, the Rufty-Peedin team ensures that the land is properly zoned for the intended use. For a simple example, an office building can’t be built in a residential zone.  If a client is interested in a site that isn’t zoned for their intended use, we can explore rezoning options, but this is a lengthy legal process, and sometimes rezoning is simply not a viable option. 

Due diligence period.

Our team typically has a minimum period to perform a site assessment for our clients. After land is under contract, if we uncover an issue during this process, our clients have the ability to walk away from the site with little to no obligation.  We believe in full transparency, and we’ll always share the good, the bad, and the ugly of the selected site so you can make the best decision for your business. And if you do decide to walk away from the chosen site, we will assist in finding another. This is just another advantage when you chose Rufty-Peedin as your commercial design-build partner. 

Sketch plan meeting.

During the due diligence period, we hold a sketch plan meeting in the municipality where the site is located. We’ll go over a site plan that depicts where the building will go with town officials and our team will hear feedback from those officials. From there, we’ll combine historical data and legislative feedback to create a feasibility budget based on what our client wants to build and what needs to be done to get started. 

Full transparency.

While unknowns can always arise during a project, we try our best to make sure you’re never blindsided, and we’ll work through any issues that do come up together, guiding you along the way.

Factors that impact the cost of a commercial building site.

Not surprisingly, one question we frequently get asked by our clients is, “How much will the site cost?” It can be easy to overlook all the different factors that impact the cost of a site, so here’s a closer look at the most common unexpected expenses. 

Topography challenges.

The physical makeup of the land is the single biggest factor in determining cost. Recently, we’ve noticed more leftover sites than ever before. As time goes by, those leftover sites become more and more challenging. 

Pad-ready sites.

A pad-ready site — or a pre-graded lot is a pad that is ready to be built on — can be expensive upfront, but it eliminates many challenges as mentioned previously. 

Unified Development Ordinances (UDO).

As a company located in the heart of the Triangle, we stay up-to-date on the areas’ land use and development ordinances. We are well-versed in these ever-changing regulations and with the assistance of our consulting planners and engineers, we communicate with you throughout the site selection process to help minimize the surprise of extra costs that may result from an unexpected regulation. 

Why commercial and residential building costs don’t compare.

A common misconception when starting a commercial build project can be first-time commercial clients assume the project will be similar to a residential build process. While it’s true that there are some similarities, there are many more differences than our clients may realize, particularly when it comes to costs and complexity.  Let’s use the stormwater management as an example. A new residential subdivision will have already accounted for stormwater management and other building codes, so it’s not something that home buyers will ever have to think about. During a commercial project, that responsibility falls on us to relay the stormwater management procedures back to our clients.  Similarly, commercial projects have much stricter building codes than residential projects. There are ADA (American Disability Act) and other federal requirements that commercial buildings must meet to help protect the general public that are simply not required for residential construction. All of these additional requirements can ultimately lead to a more expensive project. Working with a commercial builder that isn’t well-versed in these regulations can leave you vulnerable to extra costs, a bloated timeline, and numerous headaches -- all of which could be avoided by working with a design-build firm like Rufty-Peedin. 

Contact us today.

Don’t leave your commercial building project to chance. Instead, work with an open and honest commercial design team like Rufty-Peedin. We’ll communicate with you every step of the way, from helping you find the perfect site for your company, to the day you open your doors for business and everything in between.  Contact us today to talk about your building concept and learn how our team can help you bring it to life.  Read More >>>

Why a Design-Build Firm is the Way to Go

Why Choosing a Design-Build Firm is the Best Choice

It’s easy to think that all commercial builders are created equally but in reality, there’s a significant difference between a typical general contractor and a commercial design-build firm like Rufty-Peedin

While there are some similarities between the two types of builders, we’re here to help you understand what sets a design-build firm apart from the competition. Our goal is to give you a better idea of what to expect when you work with a company like Rufty-Peedin. 

What is a design-build firm?

In the simplest terms, a design-build firm is a project delivery system where the design and construction services are contracted by a single entity. 

During the build process, the designer and contractor work together from the beginning as a team, providing unified project recommendations to fit the owner’s schedule and budget. 

Then, as a project progresses, any changes are addressed by the entire team, leading to collaborative problem-solving and innovation, not excuses or blame-shifting. 

Think of it almost like a rowboat. If you and a friend are in a boat, rowing separately without communication, the boat will move, but not very efficiently. When you work together to row in sync, you’ll start moving much more easily. 

In the same way, designers and contractors can work separately, and some progress will be made, but it’s a much better experience overall when they work together from the start.

This inherent culture of collaboration is the backbone of a design-build firm.

The goal of a design-build firm

The top priority for a design-build firm is customer satisfaction. For example, at Rufty-Peedin, we work to give our clients what they want, at the price they want to pay, with our standard high-level quality. 

Because we are an integral part of the design process, it means we maintain ownership throughout the duration of each project. We take responsibility for the plans. Understandably, this means that each project we work on is personal to us. You’ll never be just another client in a long list of projects when you work with Rufty-Peedin.


"The goal is to satisfy the customer; to provide them a design that performs like they want it to perform, that functions like they want it to function, at a price that they want to pay, with a high level of quality. It's that simple."

Steven Peedin


What makes a design-build firm a better choice?

Still not sure if a design-build firm is the right choice for your project? Here’s a closer look at some of the benefits you’ll experience when working with a company like Rufty-Peedin.


Choosing a design-build firm for your project can save you time and money because it’s an environment that encourages innovation and collaboration. In fact, the design-build process is recognized as the best performing delivery system for both schedule and cost. 

Don’t just take our word for it! CII/Pankow has revisited the nation’s seminal design-build performance research 20 years later and design-build continues to outperform other delivery systems in cost, schedule, growth measures, construction, and delivery speed. 


When you work with a design-build firm, one entity is responsible for everything. There’s a sense of total ownership, and if something goes wrong, the focus is on making it right instead of trying to cast blame on someone else. 

What are some of the complexities involved in a commercial build?

While there are some similarities between residential and commercial projects, there are many differences. Design-build firms, like Rufty-Peedin, are specially equipped to handle these complexities. 

Working productively

There are usually numerous decision-makers involved in a commercial build project. Rufty-Peedin can manage the expectations of everyone involved in the project in a productive manner. 

Solving problems

Something unexpected happens in just about every commercial build project. It’s just the nature of the business. As a result, we’re constantly trying to solve problems before they happen. When we can’t, we stay prepared for any issue that may arise and make adjustments accordingly to keep the project on schedule and on budget. 

Recognizing changes and adjusting as needed

Commercial projects are heavily regulated by governmental bodies. Codes and regulations frequently change. We stay up to date on regulations and make adjustments to our processes to make sure we are in compliance.

Design-Build firms operate efficiently because of an inherent attention to detail and problem-solving skills, which leaves them well-equipped to tackle any complexities that arise.

We should know, as we’re speaking from years of experience!

How does Rufty-Peedin’s reputation differ from other design-build firms?

While design-build firms have the same basic principles, we all operate differently. Here are just a few ways that Rufty-Peedin stands out from other design-build firms. 

It’s personal

We put a personalized touch on every single project we do. We reflect that same level of care and dedication every step of the way. If our clients are unhappy, we didn’t do our jobs. That puts our reputation at stake. It’s as simple as that. 

“We embrace the relationship part of it. We get to know our clients, we get emotionally involved. That’s just a Hallmark of ours. It’s more valuable than profit.”

Steven Peedin

Transparency is key

At our core, we believe in being transparent and honest at every turn. Even if we have to communicate something that our clients don’t want to hear, we’d rather be upfront and work toward a solution instead of trying to cover it up. 

We have a dedicated, results-oriented team that will work with you throughout your project, giving you peace of mind that we’ll always have your best interests at heart.

Relationships are everything

We develop genuine relationships with the people we work with every day. This not only includes our clients, but our fellow team members: architects, engineers, subcontractors, suppliers and the people within our community. Our relationship-based approach allows us to recognize that we work better when we make connections with those around us. 

While professionalism is key, we never forget that the core of our business is working with people. You can often find us laughing with our clients, sharing weekend stories, and catching up on life in general. We truly care about our customers during their project and beyond.

Contact us today

Are you looking for the right company to help you turn your dreams into a reality? Contact us today to talk about your vision and we’ll help you make it happen -- “From Concepts to Keys.” 


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